Friday, January 16

A Day in San Francisco

Had the shittiest of flights on United last night. But this morning ...

Awoke, showered and dressed (in that order), and then walked to one of the Piers in Embarcadero. They have a bunch of gourmet stores, you know the kind, artisan bread, an organic cheese maker, and the Italian word for butcher, but for all of their pretentious names and woodcut logos, damn did the food look good.

Anne suggested we go for some croissant/cheese delight, but honestly, I've been working on pre-packaged baked goods for the past few weeks, and those things have more calories than a white trash buffet.

Instead I opted for yogurt, with what I thought was granola. Turned out to be honey and oats, but I soldiered through part of it, complaining that the pineapple tasted funny. Anne told me, "That's because it's mango, and you like neither". She's a fruit expert.

Sipped coffee in the sun as we watched the ferries come in. Talked for literally seconds about our knowledge of hydrofoils and catamarans, and also discovered Anne went to the Bahamas as a kid. It's awesome when I learn new things about her. No doubt this statement will come back to haunt me, when I learn she used to be a Bulgarian spy or even worse a doll collector.

Figured after 3 mouthfuls of yogurt, I could use some exercise, so we headed for Telegraph Hill and one of the wooden staircases up to Coit Tower. Halfway up the beautiful winding stairs, among the garden flowers, we bumped into a sweaty UPS delivery guy bringing a dolly of packages down the staircase, one excruciating step at a time. Buoyed by my newly acquired West Coast niceness, I decided to break the sensible habit of a lifetime, and make small talk with him.

"Do you have to do this everyday?", I inquired.

"Oh Yes", he replied, in a tone that suggested he encountered stupid fucking tourists with guidebooks asking him the same question each day too.

Towards the top we heard a cacophony of squawking. I'd seen the documentary about the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and hoped we might see a couple of them flying around.

Holy shit, there were dozens of them! All in one tree by Coit Tower. And by their actions and noises, I'd say they were getting it on. It was like an aviary version of a Barry White concert up there. Feathers everywhere, preening, prodding and pleasuring.

As we watched the parrots get their groove on, I noticed a quintessential Cali guy walking to our vantage point. Great hair and tan, open necked white shirt. Unfortunately a parrot had taken a crap on the back of the shirt. Anne and I debated, "Would he want to know?" The consensus was Yes, but we still figured it was embarrassing for one of us to say "Dude a bird shit on yer shirt." So we left him to make his own discovery.

As we ambled down the other side of the hill towards Columbus, we passed a school and agreed there would be no better place to be educated. Also reminisced about the time we spent 45 minutes looking for a parking space in this neighborhood, when we took my parents to the Stinking Rose a few years back.

And so we headed back to the hotel, along the way Anne learned that painfully hip-hippy-hipster Beck is a Scientologist, and I learned that the Church at the foot of Telegraph Hill is not Grace Cathedral even though I always refer to it as such.

For the afternoon we pointed ourselves West. Walking thru' Chinatown, we (very) slowly walked up Nob Hill. At the summit the real Grace Cathedral. Took in a couple of little side streets, and then headed for Russian Hill. Fuck is that a steep hill. My main reason for heading here was to see Macondray Street, which was the setting for Mrs Madrigal's house on 'Barbary Lane' in the TV series of Tales in the City.

Afterwards we headed back down to Columbus and found a cool bar, with it's own brewed ales and delicious black bean dip. Got back to the hotel to see this guy from 30 Rock. OK, not the greatest celeb sighting ever (I once saw Chris Isaak on Van Ness), but still (slightly) noteworthy.

In the evening we headed for the Haight. On the way to the Muni we came across a Salad Bar with this byline.


After an evening of frivolity, gifts, (unfiltered!) sake and noodles with our friend Jeffrey, we hopped in a cab back to the hotel. As we drove thru' cool neighborhoods looking at the Victorian houses I was aware that we were silent, but comfortable with it. Evidently the cab driver wasn't. Suddenly out of nowhere, strains of the James Bond Theme came out of the speakers. Odd.

Speaking of odd music, shared wireless in the hotel means that guests often unwittingly leave their iTunes collections open for sharing. Last time I was here, I noticed one person had a huge porn collection on their computer. It was only possible to share the audio portion however. So far no porn, but plenty of Cranberries (?), Yo Yo Ma and Edith Piaf. Something for everybody?

Anyway. Great day.

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